Sunday, November 13, 2005

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...oh, crap

I don't dislike the holidays, but this year it's like pouring acid on an open wound. I seem to have been disowned by my last living extended relatives this summer. The last time I spoke to either my mother or my sister -- did not go well. I have no idea what to do for Christmas.

I should explain that I was abandoned at birth and adopted into an abusive family. I have chronic depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result. My family was okay with this. Well, they were okay with me being "weird" and seriously mentally ill as long as my condition was my own fault and something that would go away if I would just act like a normal person. By age 13 I was seeking out the school counselor almost every week just to talk. I knew I needed therapy and begged my parents to take me to a mental health counselor. They refused. "Good people" didn't go to such places. The day I turned 18 I walked to the state-funded mental health center.

After a false start they figured out the chronic depression. (The PTSD was only diagnosed recently.) The healthier I got the chillier Mom became, especially when the question came up if something in the enviroment was making me depressed. But the rest of my relatives would not let her kick me out.

Three years into a stable, loving relationship I finally admitted to myself I had been abused. I had known it since I was 9 or 10 but if I had admitted it to myself I would have been forced to act, and there was nothing I could do. And yet even after that, I kept trying to have some sort of meaningful relationship with Mom that allowed me to be something other than a whipping girl. I never argued with her if I could help it, even when it meant not mentioning things like finding out I was a Pagan. I kept hoping she'd change, even though she'd been the way she was for over 50 years. How stupid is that?

Over the years every other member of my extended family has died. Now all that's left is Mom, my sister, and me. Sis has never stood up to Mom. In hindsight it was only a matter of time before I got the boot. I thought her peer group at church wouldn't let her break off ties with the mother of her only grandchildren. They're the ones who pressured her into coming to see us when our first child was born, and on my birthdays when she couldn't schedule a senior tour for that week. She's never been more than her usual level of rudeness when we visit her, which is usually three or four times a year. I guess Mom figures with Sis married, Sis will give her grandbabies and she can dump my family completely. Sis hates kids, so I may not be the only delusional member of this family.

I feel pretty crappy these days. There's billions of decent, halfway decent and even half-assed mothers in this world. How'd I manage to luck up on a scared teenager for a birth mom and a schoolyard bully who never grew up for an adopted mom?

Seeing this written down, I realize I sound just like somebody talking about a divorce. I never thought I'd find myself in that position.

5 comments:

Mother Crone's Homeschool said...

I am sorry that I hadn't read this earlier...but wanted to chime in. You are really at the most healthy point in your whole life...able to see the truth for the truth. You were handed some shitty cards, I agree. But that fact that you actively sought a "better hand" shows so much strength.
I had wonderful mom & Grandmothers, all of whom died way too early. I'm an only child, and sometimes the holidays depress me too. But, I have a wonderful life, and would rather have NO ONE than someone who was so selfish.
DOn't grieve your Mom, because she isn't worthy of the energy. You know it is an act in futility anyway, so just "discard" the relationship. We all have the power to do that with toxic people...and it is so good for our mental health!

Move on, and look ahead. Seek out and develop friendships with GOOD people, and enjoy your children. Find joy in the fact that you are one of the rare few strong enough to not perpetuate the cycle of abuse. The holidays of the future, with your children's children and families, will be more wonderful than you can imagine! LIghting a candle for you...

Natalie said...

I just want you to know how much I respect and appreciate you. Even before reading all that.

Nicholas D. Rosen said...

And I thought my parents were bad. I certainly don't know everything about you and your family, but from what I've learned, you seem to be doing a decent job for yourself and your children.

Frally said...

Reading that, I could swear I was reading my mother's story. She also was abandoned and adopted by crappy parents. Everything you mentioned was exactly the same...

Now, I'm speaking from the perspective of being her child so please don't take this the wrong way: My mother had a lot of justified self-pity about her experience, but unfortunately she let it get to a point where she was so wrapped up in her grief for the childhood she never had, she didn't realise she was making the same mistakes all over again with her own children (me and my brothers). In saying that, obviously, we were not abused to the same extent she was. I guess what I'm trying to say (without knowing you that well) is try and work through your grief so you can carry on loving your children. If it means cutting off your family members, do it! I've cut off poisonous relationships with family members, and although there is a period of grief, there is a humungous weight that lifts off your shoulders by doing so. You can also find power in your strength to be the one cutting the ties, as hard as it may seem. If you keep trying to forge a relationship with an abusive person, you are teaching these people how to treat you and encouraging their abusive behaviour. I sometimes have moments of grief about the bad things that have happened in my life, but every time I catch myself doing that I start running off a list of things I have that I should be thankful for eg. My children, my husband, etc etc. The good will always outweigh the bad!

Sorry for prattling on so long...

Lioness said...

Frally, that's what I'm trying to avoid. Honestly, sometimes I do better than others. At least I'm trying, eh?